Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

devil a culinary term which according to the NSOED first appeared as a noun in the 18th century, and then in the early 19th century as a verb meaning to cook something with fiery hot spices or condiments. Theodora FitzGibbon (1976) remarks, however, that ‘Boswell, Dr Johnson’s biographer, frequently refers to partaking of a dish of “devilled bones” for supper’, which suggests an earlier use. The term was presumably adopted because of the connection between the devil and the excessive heat in Hell.